Mike Stevens | May 12, 2011

Michael Schumacher's reaction to his poor race in Turkey last weekend showed he is a fighter, not a quitter, his manager Sabine Kehm has insisted.

Following the 42-year-old's admission that "the big joy is not there right now" after a fraught run in Istanbul, many commentators predicted the time is nigh for German Schumacher to return to retirement.

Schumacher's first team boss Eddie Jordan likened the end of his career to boxer Muhammad Ali's, with David Coulthard agreeing that the Mercedes driver is "a once proud warrior now out of fight and damaging his reputation".

"If he feels he can still be competitive, and he is still enjoying himself, then fair play to him," the Scot wrote in his Telegraph column.

"The trouble is at the moment he is not enjoying himself and he does not look consistently competitive," added Coulthard.

But Schumacher's manager Kehm told Bild newspaper: "The guys should all know Michael better than that.

"He shows again and again that he is a fighter. The fact that he is disappointed after a race like Istanbul doesn't disprove the hunger that he has, in fact it reinforces it," she added.

Mercedes' racing boss Norbert Haug agrees: "He is driving like a hungry youngster.

"Of course while the results are missing, there is criticism," he told SID news agency.

(GMM)

 

Todt, Ecclestone, Gascoyne Hail 'Brave' Pirelli

Mike Gascoyne has hailed Pirelli's bravery in taking up the challenge of improving the F1 show.

Bernie Ecclestone confirmed in Turkey that he specifically asked the sport's new official supplier to make tyres in 2011 "that wouldn't last for more than a third of the race".

"I am so happy with Pirelli and I thank them. They've done a super job," added the F1 Chief Executive after yet another exciting Grand Prix.

Indeed, on this matter, there is rare harmony between Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt.

"I must welcome Pirelli because they have made very brave decisions," the Frenchman said last weekend.

"I have followed the first races on TV, including practice and qualifying, and I have found it rather exciting. The return of KERS, the moving wing and the new tyres have really helped to improve the show," Todt is quoted as saying by La Stampa newspaper.

Team Lotus' technical boss Gascoyne, meanwhile, said the move from Bridgestone to Pirelli for 2011 has been more effective than more than 20 years of constant changes to the regulations.

"We change the tyre supplier and suddenly we have fantastic racing," he wrote in a column for the Telegraph.

Gascoyne acknowledged that Pirelli's decision to create tyres that feature extreme degradation was a risk.

"Pirelli are to be applauded for the boldness in going down the route they have," said the Briton.

"We will have occasions now where a driver in the lead will lose the race because of their tyres and the last thing any tyre manufacturer in F1 wants is for a driver to get out of the car and say the tyres were useless and that is why they lost the race.

"To be producing tyres that add to the show is a ballsy approach and that is of huge credit to Pirelli," added Gascoyne.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull Fast On Track And In Pits: Report

Red Bull had not only the fastest car in Turkey but also the fastest pitstops, according to a Spanish sports newspaper.

The Marca daily said the championship-leading team's sub-4 second pitstops, so crucial now in the era of Pirelli tyres and no refuelling, were aided by a spring-assisted front jack that drops the car to the ground faster than rival teams.

"Then, when all four wheels touch the ground, the car can be driven out immediately without hint of delay," said the report.

Marca said Ferrari's pitstops, in contrast, seem slower due to the manual jack not lowering the car as quickly, before the drivers comparatively struggle to get the 150 Italia back in motion.

The report speculated that, just as it is using different engine mapping settings in qualifying and the race, Red Bull might also have devised a superior computer setting for the engine during pitstops.

(GMM)

 

Williams Expects Jaguar Deal To Impact F1 Performance

Williams expects its new deal with Jaguar Land Rover to have a positive effect on its formula one foray.

The famous British team announced last week that it is teaming with the Tata-owned carmaker to create a $1 million Jaguar-branded hybrid supercar.

According to the Telegraph, Williams chairman Adam Parr said the deal "is fundamental to understanding our business going forward".

He was speaking on Tuesday after the team announced improved profits.

"A core element of the strategy set out to investors in March was a partnership with a leading car manufacturer. Our new association with Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates the strategy is on track," Parr said in a statement.

He told the Telegraph: "Our plan is to develop a very strong relationship with JLR outside of formula one, to have a long-term partnership based around high-performance road cars.

"It will help us attract better people and to perform on the track as well as off," he added.

(GMM)

 

Greece To Go Ahead With F1 Circuit

Greece has approved plans for a formula one circuit to be built near Patras, 200 kilometres west of Athens.

The Ekathimerini publication said the facility will cost almost EUR 100 million, and the development ministry confirmed in a statement that it "will be able to host formula one cars".

The project must still be approved by parliament but could be ready to host races within 36 months, and according to Bloomberg will create almost 500 jobs.

The project will be managed by private investment company Racetrack Patras SA, with the state providing a nearly EUR 29 million subsidy.

(GMM)

 

Kubica Recovery On Track After Another Operation

Robert Kubica has had yet another operation but the "first phase" of his recovery from horrific injuries is over.

That was the announcement of Renault team boss Eric Boullier on Tuesday after he flew to Italy following the Turkish grand prix to visit the Polish driver.

"Robert has made another step forward in his rehabilitation process and doctors are pleasantly surprised by the way in which his condition is improving," he said.

Boullier said Kubica's most recent operation was to "remove the unavoidable adhesions that are affecting the functionality of his forearm and elbow muscles".

"The first one was done today and everything went according to plan," revealed the Frenchman.

"Now, it is a matter of time and even if patience isn't Robert's first quality, he is fully aware that rehabilitation could be quite a long process," added Boullier.

(GMM)

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